If you are interested to know why a person becomes homeless read one of our very real life stories here, please remember just as every person is individual so is their story:
Real Life Story: Gareth
Gareth first came to us in spring 2019. He is a former drug user and has been in and out of prison several times.
He returned in August 2020 having just come out of prison. He was sleeping rough and had no ID or documentation of any kind. We gave him details for Street Outreach Team, set up an email account and helped him to start his application for Universal Credit. He was missing bank account details – he believed an account had been set up for him whilst he was in prison and he set about trying to find the information.
We supported him with his initial phone appointment for Universal Credit but as his first payment date approached, he had still not got his account details. We contacted the local Job Centre Plus, explained the situation and requested that Gareth use the Payment Exception Service (payment by vouchers for cash). They set this up for him and they also applied for a copy of his birth certificate. However, Gareth informed us that he had changed his name by deed poll several years ago and so his birth certificate and benefit names didn’t match.
In order to get him some more formal ID, we contacted HMP Oakwood for his release papers but, because he hadn’t been released on a licence, there was no documentation. We also contacted the solicitor that had helped him with the name change. They confirmed by email that they had assisted him but could give no dates etc. as it several years ago and the records had been destroyed.
We provided Gareth with a general ID letter and one to assist him in opening up a bank account at the local Halifax. We also gave Gareth a phone so that he could manage his Universal Credit account himself.
By the end of September, he had opened a bank account with the Halifax.
In November, Gareth was being supported by Housing Aid. However, he was attacked and had his phone stolen. We were able to provide him with another one so that his support could continue. Gareth also linked in with a local church and at the end of the month, committed his life to God.
Gareth secured a tenancy in private rented accommodation and we’ve helped him with bedding, crockery and other household items. The weekend after he moved in, his daughter and granddaughter visited him which he was delighted about.
He said now when he walks through the city centre, he feels totally different as he’s not having to look for somewhere safe that he might sleep at night.
If this case study has struck a chord with you and you’d like to contribute towards our Winter Appeal please follow the link: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/friarywinterappeal2020